Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Will North Korea implode or explode?

Over the past few months North Korea has been going through one of its bellicose, ultra-aggressive, much more demented than usual phases. No one knows when North Korea will do the almost inevitable and either implode or explode

If there's one thing the global financial crisis ought to teach us it is the extreme analytical difficulty of forecasting any big disruption in a well established pattern of relationships.The big problem for analysts of North Korea, as for economists before the outbreak of the global financial crisis, is that one day North Korea, like the world's banks, will change radically and suddenly. It will either explode, or collapse, or lurch into some grotesque new crisis.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak 's electorate will judge him primarily on how he deals with the economic crisis. But he is also expected to manage the demented regime in North Korea in such a way that it doesn't disturb South Korea's peaceful and prosperous life.

The South Korean attitude to North Korea is in some respects similar to Israel's attitude to the Palestinians. They know the problems of their neighbors must be solved one day. But it seems impossible to design incentives and disincentives that have any effect. So, apart from taking necessary security measures, they try to ignore the security challenge across the border.

[Excerpted from The Australian]

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